Space Heater Safety Tips to Get You Through The Winter

Posted on February 25, 2013

There are a few different types of space heaters, and as we get deeper and deeper into the winter, it’s up to consumers to recognize the potential threats posed by the various models out there.  As people explore their home and office heating options, keeping safety in mind every step of the way can go a long way toward protecting entire residences and even buildings.  To that end, consumers should consult a few different space heater safety tips provided by the Loyola Burn Center of the Loyola University Medical Center in Proviso, Illinois.

Safety-conscious consumers might want to opt for an electric space heater, a unit that Loyola says is the safest type of heater out there.  Such units often come with a switch that can determine whether the heater has toppled.  They will then shut off the power accordingly.  If yours doesn’t have this option, consider purchasing a different model.

But even these types of heaters pose hazards.  If something flammable is in the vicinity, a fire is always a possibility.  Therefore, keep things like clothing, bedding, and curtains a suitable distance away (three feet or so).  If you’re placing the heater on the ground, it shouldn’t be kept on a rug, or even the carpet.  The space heater needs to be placed on a level surface far from a walking path where an individual would potentially knock into it.  This warning is particularly important in residences with pets or children.  Finally, make sure that you turn the space heater off when you leave the room.

Additional precautions have to be taken when the unit you use is a combustion space heater.  There are two types you could opt for:  a vented or an unvented unit.  The former is preferable for its benefit to air quality.  Unvented models need to be kept outdoors, as they can lead to the formation and accumulation of carbon monoxide, compromising the respiratory function of people in that area.

Vented models, on the other hand, are far less likely to result in heightened amounts of dangerous gases, but precautions must still be taken.  Fuel must be placed inside according to the directives of the manufacturer.  That means that levels and the type of fuel should be based off of the recommendations provided.  Such fuel should be stored outside.

Place some type of guard before you start the unit, and never go to bed so long as the unit is on.  If something goes wrong with the heater and carbon monoxide forms, you have to be ready to cut power and respond to the sudden emergency.  To prevent such a mishap, make sure you get an inspection of the vented unit carried out annually.  A professional can let you know if you’ve achieved proper ventilation, if the model is damaged, or if the heater itself is being stored in the correct place.

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